Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) is announcing the introduction of the Local Education Authority Returns Now (LEARN) Act to emphasize the power of the states in education.
"The LEARN Act is a solution to underfunded school systems and allows states and towns to cut the ties of federal mandates that go along with federal money," said Garrett upon introducing the legislation. "Most importantly it allows versatility in the classroom and allows education to be multi-faceted and dynamic, some of the characteristics that have been lacking in our education system since No Child Left Behind regulations have consumed many school curriculums."
The LEARN Act will give states an option to "opt out" of receiving federal money. In return, the federal government would allow taxpayers of the state to take a credit off the top of their federal taxes, thereby keeping money in the pockets of students, parents, and educators rather than sending it to DC to fund bloated government bureaucracies. This method immediately cuts the authoritative and financial strings to the federal government. State and local governments will be able to set their own standards for their own students, allowing parents to maximize their involvement.
Once signed into law, states can enact the LEARN Act in three steps:
1) The state elects to opt out. A state arrives at an independent decision that the administrative requirements and the burden of compliance is not worth the amount of federal education aid it receives from the Department of Education and the state elects to opt out of federal funding.
2) Funding is calculated. The Secretary of the Treasury determines which states have opted out of receiving federal funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
3) Funding priorities can be set on the local level. The taxpayers of the opt-out states receive a tax credit, proportionally equal to the taxpayers' state tax burden.
"While national spending on education soars, it loses focus on the people who educate our youth at the local level," Garrett said. "Greater efficiency can be achieved by allocating the money at a state level to those who possess greater understanding of local issues affecting their schools. Great benefits can be realized for students with no net increase in cost to the American taxpayers. Giving control of education back to the states and reducing bureaucratic waste in Washington will ensure that children educated in our country are given the tools they need to succeed."